by Bernie “Shorty” Hazelton CWO (Ret’d)
In January, 1955 during my tour with No. 404 (MR) Squadron at Greenwood, Nova Scotia as a flight engineer, our crew was tasked to do an anti-submarine patrol to the south of Nova Scotia with an overnight stay in Bermuda. The captain was F/L Lawrence but I fail to remember any of the rest of the crew. We were assigned FM159 and after our patrol our radio-operator contacted Bermuda on H.F. and was told that because of excessive crosswinds in Bermuda the field was closed and suggested that fuel permitting we should return to Greenwood, as nothing had landed in Bermuda all day.
We had been airborne for over seven hours. After a discussion between the navigator and myself it was determined that, yes, we did indeed have enough fuel to return to Greenwood, but with the whole crew looking forward to an overnight in Bermuda, the reply to the message stated that we could make it back to Greenwood but we would be very tight on fuel.
We were then advised that we could land at Bermuda at our own discretion, so off we went to Bermuda. We did indeed have quite a ride on final and the crosswind did make it quite an interesting approach but all turned out well as FM159 rolled to a stop.
The Officers Club, which was situated in a location that overlooked the runway, offered an ideal viewing area to watch incoming aircraft, and as we were the only aircraft in on that day we had a full audience to critique the landing.
Our crew, on entering the club were met by a USAF major who inquired as to who was flying that Lancaster and was she quite a handful on final? Our captain answered with a nonchalant reply, “No, not too bad.” The major’s comment was, “She shouldn’t have been. You had every damn pilot in here helping you.”